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Locomotor training after human spinal cord injury: a series of case studies.

date: 07/01/2000
author: Behrman AL, Harkema SJ.
publication: Phys Ther. 2000 Jul;80(7):688-700.
pubmed_ID: 10869131

Many individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) do not regain their ability to walk, even though it is a primary goal of rehabilitation. Mammals with thoracic spinal cord transection can relearn to step with their hind limbs on a treadmill when trained with sensory input associated with stepping. If humans have similar neural mechanisms for locomotion, then providing comparable training may promote locomotor recovery after SCI. We used locomotor training designed to provide sensory information associated with locomotion to improve stepping and walking in adults after SCI. Four adults with SCIs, with a mean postinjury time of 6 months, received locomotor training. Based on the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale and neurological classification standards, subject 1 had a T5 injury classified as ASIA A, subject 2 had a T5 injury classified as ASIA C, subject 3 had a C6 injury classified as ASIA D, and subject 4 had a T9 injury classified as ASIA D. All subjects improved their stepping on a treadmill. One subject achieved overground walking, and 2 subjects improved their overground walking. Locomotor training using the response of the human spinal cord to sensory information related to locomotion may improve the potential recovery of walking after SCI.

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Bone measurements by peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) in children with cerebral palsy

date: 12/01/2005
author: Binkley T, Johnson J, Vogel L, Kecskemethy H, Henderson R, Specker B.
publication: J Pediatr. 2005 Dec;147(6):791-6.
pubmed_ID: 16356433

OBJECTIVE: To use peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) to determine bone measurements in patients with cerebral palsy (CP) age 3 to 20 years and compare them with control subjects. STUDY DESIGN: A total of 13 (5 male) patients with CP, along with 2 sex- and age-matched controls for each, were included in a mixed-model analysis with matched pairs as random effects for pQCT bone measurements of the 20% distal tibia. RESULTS: Tibia length was similar in the CP and control groups (P = .57). Weight was marginally higher in the control group (P = .06). Cortical bone mineral content (BMC), area, thickness, polar strength-strain index (pSSI), and periosteal and endosteal circumferences were greater in the control group (P < .05 for all). Relationships between bone measurements and weight showed that cortical BMC, area, periosteal circumference, and pSSI were greater at higher weights in the control group (group-by-weight interaction, P < .05 for all). Cortical thickness was greater in the control group and was correlated with weight. Cortical volumetric bone mineral density (vBMD) was greater with higher weights in the CP group (group-by-weight interaction, P = .03). CONCLUSIONS: Bone strength, as indicated by pSSI, is compromised in children with CP due to smaller and thinner bones, not due to lower cortical bone density.

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Longitudinal changes in bone density in children and adolescents with moderate to severe cerebral palsy.

date: 06/01/2005
author: Henderson RC, Kairalla JA, Barrington JW, Abbas A, Stevenson RD.
publication: J Pediatr. 2005 Jun;146(6):769-75
pubmed_ID: 15973316

OBJECTIVE: To assess the natural history of “growth” in bone mineral density (BMD) in children and adolescents with moderate to severe cerebral palsy (CP). STUDY DESIGN: A prospective, longitudinal, observational study of BMD in 69 subjects with moderate to severe spastic CP ages 2.0 to 17.7 years. Fifty-five subjects were observed for more than 2 years and 40 subjects for more than 3 years. Each evaluation also included assessments of growth, nutritional status, Tanner stage, general health, and various clinical features of CP. RESULTS: Lower BMD z-scores at the initial evaluation were associated with greater severity of CP as judged by gross motor function and feeding difficulty, and with poorer growth and nutrition as judged by weight z-scores. BMD increased an average of 2% to 5%/y in the distal femur and lumbar spine, but ranged widely from +42%/y to -31%. In spite of increases in BMD, distal femur BMD z-scores decrease with age in this population. CONCLUSIONS: Children with severe CP develop over the course of their lives clinically significant osteopenia. Unlike elderly adults, this is not primarily from true losses in bone mineral, but from a rate of growth in bone mineral that is diminished relative to healthy children. The efficacy of interventions to increase BMD can truly be assessed only with a clear understanding of the expected changes in BMD without intervention.

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Bone mineral density in children with cerebral palsy.

date: 04/01/2001
author: Tasdemir HA, Buyukavci M, Akcay F, Polat P, Yildiran A, Karakelleoglu C.
publication: Pediatr Int. 2001 Apr;43(2):157-60.
pubmed_ID: 11285068

BACKGROUND: The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the severity of and factors related to osteopenia in children with cerebral palsy (CP). METHODS: Bone mineral density (BMD), calcium (Ca), phosphate (P), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), creatinine, parathyroid hormone (PTH) and 25-hydroxy vitamin D3 (25OHD3) concentrations were determined in 24 children with CP (15 ambulant, nine non-ambulant), aged between 10 months and 12 years (mean (+/-SD) 4.1+/-2.9 years). These vaules were compared with data obtained from a control group. RESULTS: Adjusted mean BMD values were lower in the patient group than in controls (P<0.05). However, there was no difference between BMD values of ambulant and non-ambulant patients. The Ca and P levels of the patient group were significantly higher than those of controls (P<0.05). CONCLUSIONS: The present study showed that BMD was decreased in all children with CP, but to a greater extent in non-ambulant children with CP, and immobilization is the major effective factor on bone mineralization.

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Physical rehabilitation as an agent for recovery after spinal cord injury.

date: 05/18/2007
author: Behrman AL, Harkema SJ.
publication: Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am. 2007 May;18(2):183-202, v.
pubmed_ID: 17543768

The initial level of injury and severity of volitional motor and clinically detectable sensory impairment has been considered the most reliable for predicting neurologic recovery of function after spinal cord injury (SCI). This consensus implies a limited expectation for physical rehabilitation interventions as important in the facilitation of recovery of function. The development of pharmacologic and surgical interventions has always been pursued with the intent of altering the expected trajectory of recovery after SCI, but only recently physical rehabilitation strategies have been considered to improve recovery beyond the initial prognosis. This article reviews the recent literature reporting emerging activity-based therapies that target recovery of standing and walking based on activity-dependent neuroplasticity. A classification scheme for physical rehabilitation interventions is also discussed to aid clinical decision making.

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Changes of tibia bone properties after spinal cord injury: effects of early intervention.

date: 02/01/1999
author: De Bruin ED, Frey-Rindova P, Herzog RE, Dietz V, Dambacher MA, Stussi E.
publication: Arch Physical Medicine Rehabilitation. 1999 Feb;80(2):214-20.
pubmed_ID: 10025500

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness of an early intervention program for attenuating bone mineral density loss after acute spinal cord injury (SCI) and to estimate the usefulness of a multimodality approach in diagnosing osteoporosis in SCI. DESIGN: A single-case, experimental, multiple-baseline design. SETTING: An SCI center in a university hospital. METHODS: Early loading intervention with weight-bearing by standing and treadmill walking. PATIENTS: Nineteen patients with acute SCI. OUTCOME MEASURES: (1) Bone density by peripheral computed tomography and (2) flexural wave propagation velocity with a biomechanical testing method. RESULTS: Analysis of the bone density data revealed a marked decrease of trabecular bone in the nonintervention subjects, whereas early mobilized subjects showed no or insignificant loss of trabecular bone. A significant change was observed in 3 of 10 subjects for maximal and minimal area moment of inertia. Measurements in 19 subjects 5 weeks postinjury revealed a significant correlation between the calculated bending stiffness of the tibia and the maximal and minimal area moment of inertia, respectively. CONCLUSION: A controlled, single-case, experimental design can contribute to an efficient tracing of the natural history of bone mineral density and can provide relevant information concerning the efficacy of early loading intervention in SCI. The combination of bone density and structural analysis could, in the long term, provide improved fracture risk prediction in patients with SCI and a refined understanding of the bone remodeling processes during initial immobilization after injury.

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Physiologic responses to electrically assisted and frame-supported standing in persons with paraplegia.

date: 12/01/2003
author: Jacobs PL, Johnson B, Mahoney ET.
publication: J Spinal Cord Med. 2003 Winter;26(4):384-9.
pubmed_ID: 14992341

BACKGROUND: Systems of functional electrical stimulation (FES) have been demonstrated to enable some persons with paraplegia to stand and ambulate limited distances. However, the energy costs and acute physiologic responses associated with FES standing activities have not been well investigated. OBJECTIVE: To compare the physiologic responses of persons with paraplegia to active FES-assisted standing (AS) and frame-supported passive standing (PS). METHODS: Fifteen persons with paraplegia (T6-T11) previously habituated to FES ambulation, completed physiologic testing of PS and AS. The AS assessments were performed using a commercial FES system (Parastep-1; Altimed, Fresno, Calif); the PS tests used a commercial standing frame (Easy Stand 5000; Altimed, Fresno, Calif). Participants also performed a peak arm-cranking exercise (ACE) test using a progressive graded protocol in 3-minute stages and 10-watt power output increments to exhaustion. During all assessments, metabolic activity and heart rate (HR) were measured via open-circuit spirometry and 12-lead electrocardiography, respectively. Absolute physiologic responses to PS and AS were averaged over 1-minute periods at 5-minute intervals (5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 minutes) and adjusted relative to peak values displayed during ACE to determine percentage of peak (%pk) values. Absolute and relative responses were compared between test conditions (AS and PS) and across time using two-way analysis of variance. RESULTS: The AS produced significantly greater values of VO2 (43%pk) than did PS (20%pk). The mean HR responses to PS (100-102 beats per minute [bpm] throughout) were significantly lower than during AS, which ranged from 108 bpm at 5 minutes to 132 bpm at test termination. CONCLUSION: Standing with FES requires significantly more energy than does AS and may provide a cardiorespiratory stress sufficient to meet minimal requirements for exercise conditioning.

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Mobility status and bone density in cerebral palsy.

date: 08/01/1996
author: Wilmshurst S, Ward K, Adams JE, Langton CM, Mughal MZ.
publication: Arch Dis Child. 1996 Aug;75(2):164-5.
pubmed_ID: 8869203

The spinal bone mineral density (SBMD) and calcaneal broadband ultrasound attenuation (BUA) was measured in 27 children with cerebral palsy. They were categorised into four mobility groups: mobile with an abnormal gait, mobile with assistance, non-mobile but weight bearing, non-mobile or weight bearing. Mean SD scores for BUA and SBMD differed among mobility groups (analysis of variance, p < 0.001 and p = 0.078, respectively).

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Shaping appropriate locomotive motor output through interlimb neural pathway within spinal cord in humans.

date: 06/01/2008
author: Kawashima N, Nozaki D, Abe MO, Nakazawa K.
publication: J Neurophysiol. 2008 Jun;99(6):2946-55. Epub 2008 Apr 30.
pubmed_ID: 18450579

Direct evidence supporting the contribution of upper limb motion on the generation of locomotive motor output in humans is still limited. Here, we aimed to examine the effect of upper limb motion on locomotor-like muscle activities in the lower limb in persons with spinal cord injury (SCI). By imposing passive locomotion-like leg movements, all cervical incomplete (n = 7) and thoracic complete SCI subjects (n = 5) exhibited locomotor-like muscle activity in their paralyzed soleus muscles. Upper limb movements in thoracic complete SCI subjects did not affect the electromyographic (EMG) pattern of the muscle activities. This is quite natural since neural connections in the spinal cord between regions controlling upper and lower limbs were completely lost in these subjects. On the other hand, in cervical incomplete SCI subjects, in whom such neural connections were at least partially preserved, the locomotor-like muscle activity was significantly affected by passively imposed upper limb movements. Specifically, the upper limb movements generally increased the soleus EMG activity during the backward swing phase, which corresponds to the stance phase in normal gait. Although some subjects showed a reduction of the EMG magnitude when arm motion was imposed, this was still consistent with locomotor-like motor output because the reduction of the EMG occurred during the forward swing phase corresponding to the swing phase. The present results indicate that the neural signal induced by the upper limb movements contributes not merely to enhance but also to shape the lower limb locomotive motor output, possibly through interlimb neural pathways. Such neural interaction between upper and lower limb motions could be an underlying neural mechanism of human bipedal locomotion.

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Effect of prolonged bed rest on bone mineral.

date: 12/19/1970
author: Donaldson CL, Hulley SB, Vogel JM, Hattner RS, Bayers JH, McMillan DE.
publication: Metabolism. 1970 Dec; 19(12): 1071-84
pubmed_ID: 4321644
Bone mineral is lost during immobilization. This disuse osteopenia occurs locally in patients with fracture or hemiplegia and is generalized in quadriplegia.